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Coming soon to a PlayStation 3 near you: Netflix streaming [Updated]

October 26, 2009 | 12:06 pm

PlayStation Network Logo Better late than never. Sony today said it will add Netflix's free video streaming service to the PlayStation 3 in November.

The announcement comes a year after Microsoft gave its Xbox Live Gold members access to the Netflix service in November 2008. That move helped turbo-charge the number of subscribers to Microsoft's online service from 14 million last year to more than 20 million today.

Jack Tretton, head of Sony's PlayStation business in the U.S., said what sets Sony's version of Netflix apart is that subscribers won't have to pay Sony any membership fees to take advantage of the service. In contrast, Xbox 360 owners who want to stream Netflix must pay a $50 annual fee for the Gold membership.

(Sony and Microsoft require users to subscribe to Netflix's movie-rental service, which costs between $5 to $29 a month.)

"We see the PlayStation 3 as the ultimate entertainment device," Tretton said in an interview.

Funny, Microsoft said the same thing about its Xbox 360 game entertainment console earlier this year.

The two companies serve up similar fare. Sony's online service, called PlayStation Network, currently has 2,300 movies and 13,800 TV shows. In November, it will add 17,000 Netflix titles to the tally. Microsoft's Xbox Live features more than 20,000 movies and TV shows, including Netflix titles. As for music, neither offers a way to buy tunes. (Xbox Live comes close, letting its Gold subscribers stream Last.fm, an Internet radio channel.)

What about Sony, which owns its own music label?

"My personal opinion is if you're going to do something, do it right," Tretton said, when asked if Sony would introduce a music service to the PS3. "Doing things right is more important than doing them first. But this would be something that would definitely be well received."

-- Alex Pham

*This post has been updated to add the number of Netflix titles Sony said it will add to its PlayStation Network in November.

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.

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